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Nether portal
Nether portal.png
Consists of
Can generate in
existing chunks

Yes, when the player builds an appropriate frame and lights it with flint and steel or a fire charge

This article is about the structure. For the block that provides the teleportation, see Nether Portal (block).

A nether portal is a manufactured structure which acts as a gateway between the Overworld and Nether dimensions.


Build schematics
Full version Economical

A nether portal is built as a vertical, rectangular frame of obsidian (4×5 minimum, 23×23 maximum). The four corners of the frame are not required, but portals created by the game will always include them, resulting in 4 free/extra obsidian. The obsidian can be placed in any manner, e.g. by placing mined obsidian or by casting it in place using lava and water. Adjacent nether portals can share obsidian blocks. It cannot be built horizontally like an End Portal.

Once a frame is constructed, it is activated by fire placed inside the frame. This creates portal blocks inside the frame, resembling a vortex. The fire can be placed in any manner, including use of flint and steel or a fire charge, impact of a ghast or blaze fireball, or natural spread of fire to flammable material adjacent to the portal. Nether portals cannot be activated in the End.

When a portal is used, if no corresponding portal within range exists in the other dimension, one is created there: see § Portal search and creation.


Main article: Nether Portal (block)

When a player in the Overworld or the Nether stands in a nether portal block for 4 seconds, the player is taken to the other dimension. The player can step out of a portal before it completes its animation to abort the teleport. However, in Creative, there is no wait time - the player will immediately transfer between dimensions. If there is already an active portal within range (about 128 blocks) in the other dimension, the player will appear in that portal. Otherwise, a portal will be created at or near the corresponding coordinates. If a portal is deactivated, and the matching portal in the other dimension is used before it is re-activated, a new portal may be created (unless there is another active portal within range). The usual case for this is a when the player's Nether-side portal is deactivated by a ghast, and then the player dies in the Nether, spawns and then re-enters the Nether through the Overworld-side portal. However, multiple portals can be exploited to farm obsidian.

Most entities can travel through portals, including mobs (except the wither and ender dragon), thrown items, and transportation without passengers (neither mobs nor player), including boats, minecarts and horses. Storage minecarts and powered minecarts can pass through. Note that in the Legacy Console Edition, wolves will not travel through portals after a player but can be pushed through.[verify] Thus, inter-dimensional railways are limited to cargo. Note that mobs have a much longer "cool-down" time than the player, so they can't go back for 300 game ticks (15 seconds), by which time they likely will have wandered or been led away from the portal. If the chunk on the other side of the portal is not loaded, entities passing through (including projectiles) will effectively be held in suspended animation until the chunk is loaded.

Zombie pigmen have a chance to spawn on the bottom frame of the portal in the Overworld if any nether portal block above receives a block tick. They spawn twice as often on Normal difficulty as on Easy, and three times as often on Hard difficulty as on Easy. No other mobs can be spawned by nether portals in this way, in any dimension.

Chunk loading and time

When a player leaves a dimension, the surrounding chunks in the origin area get unloaded, unless there's another player nearby to keep them loaded. This effectively stops time in the origin dimension, until a player returns and the chunks are reloaded. This affects all ongoing processes, including animal and plant growth, furnace smelting, brewing, and even primed TNT. This also means that when dying in the Nether (and respawning in the Overworld), your items will remain (lava and fire notwithstanding) until 5 minutes after that chunk of the Nether is loaded again.

Portal linkage between Overworld and Nether

The closest portal to the corresponding location receives the player.

A new portal is generated in the closest empty area if no portal is found in range.

Coordinate conversion

Horizontal coordinates and distances in the Nether are proportional to the Overworld in a 1:8 ratio. That is, by moving 1 block horizontally in the Nether, players have moved the equivalent of 8 blocks on the Overworld. This does not apply on the Y-axis. Thus, for a given location (X, Y, Z) in the Overworld, the corresponding coordinates in the Nether are (floor(X ÷ 8), Y, floor(Z ÷ 8)), and conversely, for a location (X, Y, Z) in the Nether, the matching Overworld coordinates are (floor(X × 8), Y, floor(Z × 8)).

The Java floor() method used in these conversions rounds down to the largest integer less than or equal to the argument (toward smaller positive values and toward larger negative values), so a coordinate of 29.9 rounds to 29.

Both the X and Z coordinates in this conversion are constrained to be between −29999872 and 29999872 (inclusive); this affects travel to the Overworld from the Nether at X or Z beyond ±3749984.

In the Legacy Console Edition, the ratio depends on the world size: 1:3 for classic (which includes all worlds on PS3 and Xbox 360) and small worlds, 1:6 for medium, and 1:8 for large.

Portal search and creation

Portals do not permanently "remember" what portal they are linked to in the other dimension, but instead perform the following whenever a portal is used by a player:

First, if the portal block in which the player is standing has been used recently, then it will re-use the destination that was chosen the last time; in this sense, portals do "remember" their linked pairs, but only for about 15 seconds (300 game world ticks, or 150 redstone ticks). One side effect of this behavior is that the cached destination is not validated before being re-used, so if a player travels through a portal and immediately deactivates it on the other side, other players can still follow them through for the next 60 seconds and appear at the same destination, even though there is no longer an active portal there. After 60 seconds have passed without anyone using the same origin portal, the cached destination will expire.

If the player's origin portal has not been used recently, then a new destination will be computed. First, the game converts the entry coordinates into destination coordinates as above: The entry X- and Z-coordinates are multiplied or divided by 8 (or 3) depending on direction of travel, while the Y-coordinate is not changed.

Starting at these destination coordinates, the game looks for the closest active portal. It searches a bounding area of 128 horizontal blocks from the player, and the full map height (128 for the Nether, 256 for the Overworld). This gives a search area of 257 blocks by 257 blocks, at the full height of the dimension being traveled to.

An active portal for this purpose is defined as a portal block which does not have another portal block below it; thus, only the lowest portal blocks in the obsidian frame are considered. A single portal block generated in and placed using server commands would be a valid location.

If a candidate portal is found, then the portal will teleport the player to the closest one as determined by the distance in the new coordinate system (including the Y coordinate, which can cause seemingly more distant portals to be selected). Note that this is Euclidean distance, not taxicab distance. The distance computation between portals in range is a straight-line distance calculation, and the shortest path will be chosen, counting the Y difference.

If no portals exist in the search region, the game creates one, by looking for the closest suitable location to place a portal, within 16 blocks horizontally (but any distance vertically) of the player's destination coordinates. A valid location is 3×4 buildable blocks with air 4 high above all 12 blocks. When enough space is available, the orientation of the portal is random. The closest valid position in 3D distance is always picked.

A valid location exactly 3 wide in the shorter dimension may sometimes not be found, as the check for a point fails if the first tried orientation wants that dimension to be 4 wide. This is likely a bug.

If the first check for valid locations fails entirely, the check is redone looking for a 1×4 expanse of buildable blocks with air 4 high above each.

If that fails, too, a portal is forced at the target coordinates, but with Y constrained to be between 70 and 10 less than the world height (i.e. 118 for the Nether or 246 for the Overworld). When a portal is forced in this way, a 2×3 platform of obsidian with air 3 high above is created at the target location, overwriting whatever might be there. This provides air space underground or a small platform if high in the air. In Bedrock Edition, these obsidian blocks are flanked by 4 more blocks of netherrack on each side, resulting in 12 blocks of platform.

Because the Nether is limited to 128 high, the search algorithm will neither find nor create portals at or above Y=128 in the Nether. Therefore, for a portal in the Nether to be found, its lowest portal block must be at or below 127. Any portal blocks above that are ignored by the algorithm. Portals may be found or created above Y=128 in the Overworld if there are no closer portals or valid locations.

Once coordinates are chosen, a portal (always 4×5 and including the corners) including portal blocks is constructed at the target coordinates, replacing anything in the way.

If a portal is forced into water or lava, the liquid will immediately flow into the generated air blocks, leaving the player with no airspace. However, a glitch can prevent this water from flowing into the portal: if liquid would flow both vertically and horizontally into the air pocket, it instead flows only vertically, so the blocks on the platform's outer corners never become water source blocks.


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Gamerscore earned Trophy type (PS4)
PS4 Other platforms
Into The NetherConstruct a Nether Portal.Light a nether portal.30GBronze


Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Resource location
Advancement-plain-raw.pngWe Need to Go Deeper
Build, light and enter a Nether Portal Ice Bucket ChallengeEnter the Nether dimension.story/enter_the_nether
Bring summer clothes Enter the Nether dimension.nether/root



v1.2.0October 4, 2010A poster on Notch's blog announced a new "hell world," and hinted that it would utilize portals for fast travels.
October 22, 2010Originally, ghasts were intended to spawn from Nether portals (referred to as "gates") in the Overworld. However, this ability has not yet been implemented.[1]
October 29, 2010Notch sent a preview of the Halloween Update to two gaming companies; their articles[2][3] detailed the usage of nether portals, used for entering what was then known as "the Slip".
previewAdded Nether Portals.
v1.2.2aThe player could create a Nether Portal by pressing F4 (presumably a developer testing function).
v1.2.2bRemoved F4 cheat.
1.6?Before this, Nether Portals could be created in multiplayer servers, but did not function to teleport players to The Nether, thus multiplayer servers required modding to access the Nether. Now, Nether Portals work in multiplayer.
Java Edition
1.0.0?It was possible to smash portals by simply punching them.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4The portal has changed, having a slightly darker look.
?It is no longer possible to deactivate Nether Portals with water or lava. Both will stop before hitting the portal and act as if the portal were a solid block; placing water instead of fire in the portal will automatically deactivate the portal anyway.
1.2.112w08aThe player can (again) smash a Nether portal in Creative by punching it. It makes the same sound as glass being destroyed.
?The Overworld's height limit was raised to 256, but portals from the Nether would not find portals above Y=128.
1.3.112w18atravel.ogg no longer plays when using a portal.
12w22aZombie pigmen will rarely spawn from Nether Portals in the overworld.
?Portals from the Nether now search the entire height of the Overworld.
1.4.212w34aEntities can now travel through portals.
12w38aThe Nether will now load faster when traveling through a portal in Survival mode and will load immediately when in Creative mode.
1.513w02aNether Portals use the following textures in resource packs: textures/blocks/portal.png and textures/blocks/obsidian.png.
1.7.2September 11, 2013Dinnerbone releases images of larger and different shaped portals, also mentions the ability to light a portal from any block, not just the bottom row.[4]

Both the sign and circular nature of the portal in the second image are references to Stargate, Col. Jack O'Neill was often heard mentioning his hatred for cliches.

13w37aPortals can now be activated from any block within the portal, not just the bottom (when any fire block appears inside the frame).
New nether portal building rules: Portals can be built at a minimum of 4×5, and a maximum of 23×23.
Nether portals now use block data values (later changed to Block State) to determine their orientation. Old portals created in 1.6.4 and earlier have a tendency to close when upgrading.
13w41aPortals, water and ice are now visible through each other.
1.814w25aThe item form of the Nether portal block was removed from the game. It can no longer exist in inventories, only as a block in the world.
1.9?Now plays travel.ogg again.
15w49aThe wither and ender dragon can no longer travel through portals.
1.1317w47aPrior to The Flattening, this block's numeral ID was 90.
pre5The block id changed to nether_portal.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.12.1build 1Added Nether portals and can be built at a minimum of 4×5, and a maximum of 23×23.
?Sounds updated to match Java Edition.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU1 1.0 Patch 1Added Nether portals.
TU31CU19 1.22 Patch 3New Nether Portal building rules: Any rectangular shape from 4×5 to 23×23.
If the portal in the nether is big enough, ghasts can travel through.
Portals can now be activated by any fire block within the frame.


Issues relating to "Nether portal" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.



  • Portals can be placed together in a tunnel-like fashion (e.g. pretend wormhole), though it will only appear as if the third portal is lit as the first two in a row will mimic glass. If more than six portals are connected, the inner portals will be completely invisible while in the portal tunnel, however the particle effects can still be seen throughout. These connected portals also share the 4 second countdown until teleportation, so as long as the player is within a connected portal, they will be sent to another dimension.
  • The player cannot enter to their inventory while standing in an active portal, however, they are allowed to scroll through their hotbar and place blocks (This can be very difficult due to the nether portal animation).
  • There is a splash referencing the Nether Portal. It says "Slow acting portals!".
  • If the player enters a portal in Legacy Console Edition, then pause the game once the Nether is generated with the swirling effect still on-screen, the effect will stay on-screen.[verify]
  • If there is no location on the ground that can support portals, a portal will generate in the air, with a ledge on either side of the portal. It is also possible for a portal to generate inside netherrack, therefore cutting out a small chamber.
  • The player cannot chat while standing inside an active portal.


  • A LEGO Nether Portal was included in the LEGO Minecraft Set: "The Nether".
  • On 29 October 2010 PC Gamer released this video, showing a portal being constructed and used.
  • On 1 April 2011, Think Geek released this video to advertise one of their annual fake April Fools products: the Minecraft USB Desktop Nether Portal.


External links